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These Popular YouTubers Are Being Investigated For Allegedly Throwing College Parties And Encouraging Students To Ignore COVID Safety

Written by on September 11, 2020

Illinois State University said it is working with local and campus police to investigate huge parties thrown by popular prank YouTubers called the Nelk Boys, who they say are encouraging students to ignore anti-COVID precautions.

A spokesperson for the school told BuzzFeed News they’re reviewing footage of the parties, and students in violation could face charges from the town of Normal, Illinois, as well as “suspension from the university.”

Earlier this week, the Nelk Boys — who have almost 5.7 million subscribers on YouTube — shared a series of Instagram stories that reporter Taylor Lorenz of the New York Times then screen-recorded. The videos showed massive parties on ISU’s campus with no one wearing masks or social distancing.

The two men who front the fratty channel, SteveWillDoIt and Bradley Martyn, were previously in Los Angeles protesting COVID mandates as a stunt for a YouTube video. The men led a crowd chanting “open the gyms” with signs from their fans that read “Gym Lives Matter.”

The video of their “protest” has been viewed over 1.7 million times, with 129,000 users giving it a thumbs-up.

After the Instagram story videos from @nelkboys went viral, the president of ISU delivered a speech condemning the actions of the students who participated and the “so-called YouTube celebrities.”

“It gives me no joy to convey my great disappointment in the actions of

those who gathered,” said President Larry Dietz. “Hundreds of faculty and staff members at the university have been working nonstop to ensure that your education can continue in a safe and healthy environment. The actions of some were an insult to them, to the town where you are a citizen, and to your families who support you being here.”

When asked if ISU knew about the Nelk Boys’ visit prior, Rachel Hatch, the assistant director of media relations at the school, told BuzzFeed News in an email statement that “the incident was a pop-up event, for which the university had no knowledge beforehand.”

Hatch said the school is cooperating with town officials of Normal, where the school is located, the Normal Police Department, as well as ISU campus police to investigate and identify students in the Instagram stories.

“Students will be charged with violations of the Student Code of Conduct and are subject to Town of Normal ordinance violations for their participation,” Hatch said. “Violations of the Student Code of Conduct can result in suspension from the University.”

BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Nelk Boys.

Online, people are calling for YouTube to take action against these creators’ negligent and dangerous messaging. They’re calling for the platform to demonetize their videos or ban the Nelk Boys from the platform.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to YouTube.

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